|Target Users||General public|
|Nature of the initiative||Public|
Biblos.lib, an innovative platform for e-book lending, was developed and launched by Beletrina Academic Press between the years 2011 and 2013. The e-book market in Slovenia is (still) very underdeveloped and the number of e-book titles in Slovenia was close to zero only a couple of years ago, with no Slovene e-book store or e-lending opportunity on the horizon. The Biblos platform was initially designed to be the first domestic e-lending service for public libraries, and was developed in cooperation with them to suit all their needs. The service was in the pilot testing phase with 10 libraries for 6 months before it was launched into public use. In the development process also a selling module was added; Biblos now is a selling and lending platform. In the testing phase an intense process of book conversions into EPUB files was started, involving several Slovene publishers.
Globally, e-books have become a new medium for reading and are getting an ever greater role in everyday life. This trend is also evident in public libraries where e-books have become part of the offer and the demand is in steep growth. For several years Biblos has been seeing various models of remote lending of e-books: be it commercial models, non-related to libraries which the end-user must pay (subscriptions, etc.), or library models which, on a national level, are often recognized as models of public interest and are mostly free of charge for end users (library members). The latest is the meaning of this Slovenian remote e-books lending service Biblos.lib and its general public interest. The business model foresees that each library member pays a yearly member fee for the service and additionally acquires e-book licenses for the titles they are interested in offering to their membership. The library members use their library ID to enter Biblos and can borrow the available e-books in their library.
The service was publicly launched in 2013 and practically all Slovene public libraries immediately subscribed to the service. The business model used is a combination of a flat-rate and a licence purchasing model. The service is free of charge for library members, they use their library ID card number to enter and borrow books. Biblos is designed to be as intuitive as possible for the end user, offering a number of statistics and links. The e-books available are protected with Adobe DRM, except for the ones available free of charge. The aim is to reduce the protection to a water mark level in a couple of years. Various publishers put their e-books available to the service by themselves, using a simple on-line publishing intermediate. They set the price according to the price ranking available (1, 99 - 99,99 €) and add all other crucial information (metadata etc.) The selling part of the service is open, no registration is needed. After one year the service has a solid number of 6.500 users (library members) and it is extending its services to cross-border libraries, publishers and users. A reading app for iOS and Android devices, free to download from Google Pay or I-store has been developed.
The role of technology
Biblos is an e-book platform for lending and selling. Biblos was developed as standalone environment with automatized procedures on all fields of activities. Its interface is simple for all users (library administrators, publishers, end users). It is built on open source platforms with some additional commercial solutions included. Biblos is completely compatible with the national library system (COBISS) and enables data exchange (uses credentials, loan statistics, catalogue metadata exchange …) Biblos uses its own reading apps for iOS and Android devices and it is supporting all reading devices/programs that are using Adobe authentication (that is DRM supported on almost every device and platform). In the near future also an app for Windows 8 will be developed. Biblos has also localized e-ink reading device in cooperation with EU distributer and optimised it for use with its e-lending system.
Biblos has 6.500 steady end-users and cooperates with more than 30 publishers in offering their content. All public libraries have subscribed to the service, University libraries are joining accelerated, in 2014/2015 the service will admit school libraries (first secondary and after that primary). Biblos remain the only remote e-lending provider on the market.